THE RELEASE OF Hoorahland, the latest Dadaist intervention by Redditch’s best ever export, has me remembering the story of a walkout by university lecturers in Manchester in the mid-1970s. Why wouldn’t it? The strike action was in response to wage settlements in the FE sector which had eroded differentials in the HE sector. Academics were outraged at losing out as a result of the changes. A lobby on Oxford Road was flooded with demonstrators demanding the employers take further action to address the injustice. Their placards carried one of the most memorable wage struggle demands of the era: “Rectify the anomaly!”
I’ve been reminded of that halcyon moment only because, through the release of Hoorahland, The Cravats have themselves confronted an injustice and addressed an aberration. In 2017, The Cravats released the captivating and completely compelling Dustbin of Sound, the band’s first album in four decades. The completion of Hoorahland just three years later means the appropriate schedule for the release of Cravats albums in the twenty-first century has now been established. Anomaly no more.
Dustbin of Sound was an extraordinarily accomplished album, reflecting the resurgent confidence and boundless inspiration of a band determined not to be constrained by the influence of past triumphs. Hoorahland is arguably even more impressive, showing The Cravats’ ability to build on, blend and extend that combination of post-punk power with not-constrained-by-punk inventiveness. It’s a distinctive style bursting with possibilities and a musical method unmatched by any of their peers. No-one, but no-one, sounds quite like The Cravats.